Finding joy in learning through PBL: A conversation with Tanya Sheckley | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

July 22, 2022

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Tanya Sheckley, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of UP Academy, an elementary school in San Mateo, California, which is the first school in the world where kids who are able bodied and kids with physical disabilities learn together in the same classrooms. UP Academy focuses heavily on Project Based Learning, showing that elementary school students aren’t too young to engage in authentic experiences.

 In this podcast, Tanya and I discuss:

  • How to develop core academic skills through student agency
  • How to build a school culture that promotes and sustains joy in learning and teaching
  • How to model lifelong learning to the students and adults alike.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 


You may be interested in listening to more Coconut Thinking podcasts on Intrepid Ed News.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, which creates learning and action experiences where all learners have a common purpose; positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective — any living thing, sentient or plant, that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. Benjamin also works as the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at an International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, which, as the school of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the most prestigious and high profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities, before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and now Thailand. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.

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